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Women of Influence: Tina Hodges, Advance Financial

Advance Financial operates more than 75 neighborhood financial service centers offering lines of credit, check cashing, money orders and bill-pay services. As CEO and CXO, Tina Hodges works to ensure the company’s strategy, policies and processes align to elevate the customer and employee experience. Ask about her greatest lesson in business leadership, and she’ll point you to her daughter.

If you could have a super power, which would you choose, and why? I would be invisible. I could go and do whatever I want and have time to myself whenever I want. As a CEO with 700 employees and three kids at home, that sounds like a dream.

What issue are you most passionate about in the wake of the new government administration? President Trump and his team have set out to reduce the unproductive role of government in people’s lives. As we see that start to happen, in education for example, we, as business owners, community members and parents, must increase the productive role that we play. We must step into the new roles available to us. We have an opportunity to do more for our own schools as the federal government backs out of our way.

What is your favorite way to procrastinate on the internet? I finally had to unsubscribe to several clothing store email lists. I would click on each cute dress and then the shoes and then the jacket, knowing full well I would never purchase these things. I love looking at the items online, but I never buy anything!

Tell us a story about an experience you had that changed your leadership style. My daughter asked to borrow my silver bracelet with the word “gratitude” engraved in small black letters. I said, “Why do you want to borrow this? You don’t even know what the word means.” To which she replied in her best smarty-pants voice, “Gratitude is what keeps us from floating off the Earth.” I laughed and explained that gravity is what keeps us from floating off the Earth. Then I realized maybe she was right, maybe gratitude keeps us grounded, too. I’m trying to show more gratitude these days by thanking my team more for the little things that happen almost effortlessly. Those are the things that keep the company going day after day, year after year.

If you could leave one legacy to the world, what would it be? Someone at work gave me a Christmas card this year that read, “We have dinner on our table and gifts under our tree thanks to you.” That’s our legacy. We are changing the lives of others for the better. (Thanks, Dave, for reminding me of that!)

How can Nashville’s business community best empower up-and-coming female professionals? We’ve found success in recognizing the differences and strengths between the sexes and maximizing each person’s talent.

Where is your go-to place in Nashville for a power lunch? Arnold’s [Country Kitchen]. No close second place.

Describe a tough decision from early in your career and how it helps you today. I truly enjoyed working as a nurse practitioner in the emergency room. The decision to leave that career and join Advance Financial full time was not easy. I’ve found, however, that management skills are very transferable. All the tools I used in managing the ER patient load and supervising the staff are the same ones I use today.

In 10 words or less, what advice would you give girls growing up today? Spend more time outside than inside. Don’t wear makeup. Smile.

What are you reading now, and what’s next on your list? I just bought Arnie Malham’s book, “Worth Doing Wrong.” I’m looking forward to reading it … on a long flight to India.

Original Source: Nashville Business Journal